STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Alabama men's basketball team held off a late rally and secured a 55-51 victory over SEC-rival Mississippi State inside the Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi. Winners of two of its last three games, Alabama improves to 15-9 on the season, including 5-6 in conference play. With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 11-13, and 4-7 against SEC foes.
The Crimson Tide kept the pressure on the Bulldogs all night, forcing 15 turnovers resulting in 18 points. Alabama shot just 29% in the second half, but used an 11-3 run to take its largest lead of the game, 49-41, with just 2:55 to play.
Alabama collected seven steals as part of 11 forced turnovers in the first half, and carried a 25-21 lead into halftime. Shannon Hale and Michael Kessens combined to go 6-9, scoring 15 of Alabama's 25 first half points. The Crimson Tide improves to 13-1 on the season when leading at the half.
Hale matched his season-high with a game-best 14 points, also collecting four rebounds and a pair of assists. Senior Levi Randolph turned in 13 points, including a game-high 10 in the second half, and a team-leading 7 rebounds for the Tide.
Up next for Alabama is the lone home game in this current four-game stretch, as the Tide returns to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday night to host the Vanderbilt Commodores. The game will tipoff at 7 p.m. CT and will air on ESPNU.